Hotel cleaners in Sweden are calling for international solidarity in response to attacks on workers who demanded an end to illegally low wages and long working hours. As the letter below demonstrates, these workers are standing firm in spite of extreme demands from management.
The Cleaners’ Defence Committee, recently active in building solidarity with migrant cleaners at UBS bank in the City of London, has called a meeting for 7:30pm on the evening of Friday 9th July. We will be discussing how to organise support for comrades in Sweden. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of the central London venue.
The original call for solidarity by SAC
We write to you with a call for international solidarity. The syndicalist union SAC in Sweden is involved in the biggest blockade struggle for at least the last ten years in Sweden. Hundreds of people have been involved in the picket lines two times a week since 26/2. The company that we are in conflict with is Berns Salonger, owned by the British concern London Regional.
We beg of you to help us in this fight. We wonder if you would like to:
Call or visit London Regional as soon as possible, say that you have gotten a call for international solidarity and would like to hear the companys opinion about the situation in Stockholm before you decide how to act. Suggest a meeting.
In Sweden we right now face a media offensive by right wing politicians and capitalists roaring out that we are nothing else than a maffia and a mob with the only aim to take money from the companies. Our classic blockades are critized as being nothing else than mafia tactics.
A large and fashionable night club/restaurant/hotel has for ten years systemized using staffing companies for the cleaning of the vast buildings. Newly arrived immigrants, both with and without certificate of residence have been given illegal wages far below standard for a 7 day working week and often 22 hour shifts.
Three times SAC has demanded legal wages and that our undocumented members get all their wages, that the work hours should be humane etc. The result of each struggle (won by blockades of the night club) has been that Berns bosses have moved the janitors from one staffing company to another. Our members have worked at Berns, supervised by Berns work leaders for up to seven years and for three different companies. All the time, conditions have been criminal. We claim that Berns has a responsibility for these people, from Bolivia, Peru, Mongolia and Chile, since they have moved them from one staffing company to another only to avoid responsibility for their exploitation.
Now the latest of the links in the chain Berns has organized, the staffing company NCA, has fired all the janitors at Berns hotel because of economic problems. Berns still needs cleaning. Berns has used the situation to pick out a few janitors and offered them continued work, but all syndicalists have been left without work. Berns has done this even though the syndicalists have worked for a longer time at Berns and on the most work hours.
Norway has a law of ”solidarity responsibility” stating that companies have vast responsibility for their subcontractors. This is not so in Sweden. The question about precariat, unsafe labour and expolitation of undocumented comrades is an international question.
Stockholm LS of SAC Syndikalisterna
London & Regional Properties Limited
55 Baker Street